In Matthew 24 Jesus uses a parable to teach about being ready for his return: “Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, who his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:44-51).
Note that Jesus is speaking about servants here, meaning believers. One servant is called faithful and the other evil. What makes the latter evil in God’s eyes? According to Jesus, it’s something he “shall say in his heart” (24:48). This servant doesn’t voice such a thought and he doesn’t preach it. But he thinks it. He has sold his heart on the demonic lie, “The Lord delays his coming.” Notice he doesn’t say, “The Lord isn’t coming,” but “he delays his coming.” In other words, “Jesus won’t come suddenly or unexpectedly. He won’t return in my generation.”
This “evil servant” is clearly a type of believer, perhaps even one in ministry. He was commanded to “watch” and “be ready,” “for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). Yet this man eases his conscience by accepting Satan’s lie.
Jesus shows us the fruit of this kind of thinking. If a servant is convinced that the Lord has delayed his coming, then he sees no need for right living. He isn’t compelled to make peace with his fellow servants. He doesn’t see the need to preserve unity in his home, at work, in church. He could smite his fellow servants, accuse them, hold grudges, destroy their reputations. As Peter says, this servant is driven by his lusts. He wants to live in two worlds, indulging in evil living while believing he’s safe from righteous judgment.